2018-01-11 / Living

Ralph Rossell, Flushing, releases first book detailing life in funeral business

By Sam Tunningley
810-452-2661 • stunningley@mihomepaper.com


“The Life of Death: The Bare Bones of Undertaking,” by Ralph Rossell “The Life of Death: The Bare Bones of Undertaking,” by Ralph Rossell FLUSHING – Those familiar with Rossell Funeral Home may also be acquainted with Ralph Rossell, its erstwhile owner who ran his family’s business for 46 years, and his knack for storytelling.

Over the past few years, Rossell has been busy writing his first book, “The Life of Death: The Bare Bones of Undertaking,” which has just been released to Barnes and Noble, Amazon and e-book format. He has kept tightlipped on specifics until this point, occasionally teasing short stories on a Flushing Facebook group to build anticipation.

The book is a tell-all account of his life in the funeral business – featuring short stories ranging in tone from eerie to humorous to moving.

As the hype increased, Rossell went through the long process of organizing, editing and finalizing his work for the public eye. He contacted Dog Ear Publishing out of Indianapolis, Indiana, and sent in his manuscript for editing. Dog Ear took care of the rest: the editor arranged his text in a more readable format, sent his book to distributors and are even working on a viral marketing campaign.

“I was scared to death to get it back from the editor. I didn’t know what to expect,” said Rossell. “I didn’t open it on my e-mail for two weeks because I didn’t want to ruin my vacation.”

Rossell was pleased to find none of his text had been changed; the editor found his book “a highly interesting and entertaining read.” The attention-grabbing cover, featuring a skeleton striking a pose, was chosen by Ralph’s wife from stock photos found on the Internet. Both she and Ralph’s daughter were major players in the editing process.

Since the book’s release, glowing reviews have started to pour in. Kirkus Reviews, a major book magazine based out of New York City, praised Rossell’s book as “a candid, sensitive, and occasionally humorous account of life as a funeral director.”

“My goal was to write a book, put my ideas down and if people liked it, great – if they didn’t, I gave it my best shot,” said Rossell.

Rossell is currently working on a website for the book. He is hoping to arrange local book signings in Flushing for the coming months.

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